A Proven Leader for Economic Development and Trade and Tourism Expansion
ROBERT "BOB" GOODMAN
For Governor of Nevada
Working together will put the State of Nevada back to stability and prosperity it deserves.
The success during the time I was the Director of Economic Development for the State of Nevada before the creation of the post of Lt. Governor gave me the confidence and ability to lead once more and redirect the course of our future that lies ahead. The increased number of jobs was the result of my creative marketing campaigns that attracted companies like JC Penney (distribution operations), Levi Strauss, and a number of other companies to come to Nevada. While still in the office my marketing campaign strategies continued to attract a large number of visitors from different parts of the globe, specifically China, as well as gaming players and recreational adventures alike to enjoy the extraordinary experience Nevada had to offer. I had done it before. I will do it again.
I encourage you all to join my mission to put the State of Nevada back to prosperity and stability for our children to flourish.
I look forward to having you onboard in my campaign trail.
Robert E. (Bob) Goodman
Early in the 1970s it became clear to many in Nevada that it was only a matter of time before other states allowed legal gambling. Nevada had provided for corporate ownership of casinos in the latter 1960s. As corporate leaders gained management experience in gaming issues, they would want to expand into other states, and those states, beginning with New Jersey, welcomed the idea. It would provide a new source of reveue.
Mike O'Callaghan had included inceasing environmentally-clean industry in Nevada as part of his campaign platform when he ran for governor of Nevada in 1970. Not long into his eight-year administration, Gov. O'Callaghan appointed Robert E. (Bob) Goodman as director of the Department of Tourism and Economic Development. That department had neither a large staff nor a large budget.
During Goodman's tenure, despite limited funding and a small staff, Nevada would be successful in achieving the governor's campaign promise and goal. He would build the department into a program so important to Nevada that the following administration would give the Lieutenant Governor, a statewide elected official, a key role in its work.
One of the major challenges for the Nevada resort industry during the 1970s, and for Goodman, came in October 1973, when the members of OPEC placed an oil embargo on nations which had supported Israel in its conflict with Egypt. The United States was one of those nations. As gasoline became scarce, Goodman dispatched students to rent midsize cars and demonstrate that visitors could drive from Los Angeles to Las Vegas and back on a tank of gasoline. The same was done for Reno and San Francisco. Combined with aggressive advertising, tourism to Nevada's two key cites did not fall to crisis levels, remaining brisk. Congress had threatened to close gas stations on Sundays, a move which held the potential of "stranding" visitors in the state. Nevada led the successful opposition, with Goodman in a leadership role.
One casualty of the oil crisis was Winnebago Industries. Working with Goodman, the major manufacturer of motor homes had been perparing to open a major expansion operation in Nevada. That business suffered heavily during the oil crisis, and the expansion plans were of necessity abandoned.
As the oil crisis passed, Nevada's tourism industry continued to grow. Las Vegas was becoming recognized as the "Entertainment Capital of the World." Gross casino income in 197l had been $633 million. By 1977 that income had more than doubled, to $l.5 billion, despite the economic recession of 1975. Between 197l and 1977, five new resort hotels were constructed in Las Vegas. In Reno, where the then-MGM Grand was under construction, three large hotel-casinos had been built and three others (including the MGM) were under construction.
Meanwhile, Goodman was working to emphasize the recreational aspect of tourism in Nevada. Water recreation at Lake Tahoe and Lake Mead; skiing in the Sierra golf, fishing, hunting, "ghost towning, and rockhounding were emphasized. Tom Wilson, a Reno advertising frim, and Darryl Monahan, Goodmnan's deputy developed a program creating four "countries" in Nevada-Stagecoach Country, Pioneer Trails Country, Covered Wagon Country, and Prospector Country. The Program provided platforms for involving state, local and federal agencies in localized promotion of tourism. It was the "stay an extra day" promotion which successfully encouraged many visitors to look at other parts of Nevada. Many elements of this program remain in place today. While this program was receiving major promotion, it resulted in nearly 4,000 mail-in requests for information monthly.
Because of its unique tourist attractions, Goodman was invited by the United States Travel Service to participate in the first joint sponsorship of a travel mission in 1972. For the tour Goodman brought together a number of the state's top people in tourism. The group visited Japan, Hong Kong and Anstralia. The State had not budgeted for this trip. Participants willingly paid their own way.
The Nevada exhibit at the "Visit America" building in Sydney broke a national attendance record, with more than 5,000 people attending in one day. In Japan, the Andersons, then-owners of the Ponderosa Ranch at Lake Tahoe, were so well received that they began work with Goodman on a follow-up program. Throughout the travel mission, Nevadans found people interested in the state's "Old West" aspects. The Ponderosa (which closed in 2004) was a theme park based on the popular, long-running television series "Bonanza."
In the year following the travel mission, Goodman and the Andersons would return to Japan presenting a replica Ponderosa Ranch House at the Hotel New Otani in Tokyo. Bonanza had enjoyed a l4-year run in Japan.The ranch house was instantly recognizable and gave Nevada a "wild west" identify to go with its gambling image, both of which appealed to potential tourists in Tokyo.
Another followup involved bringing a group of Japanese travel writers to Nevada. They traveled across the stade by ground vehicles, stopping in Anstin, Eureka and Ely, and participating in a barbecue at Wheeler Peak. The tour resulted in numerous articles encouraging Japanese tourists to see more of Nevada.
Throughout the years Goodman headed the agency, tourism was strongly promoted in many ways. Nevada Magazine had been published by the Nevada Department of Highways for many years. That agency was changing in the 1970s, ultimately as the Department of Tranportation. The magazine had been subsidized by the highway department from its inception. Management was transferred to the Department of Economic Development and Tourism in June, 1975. The Previous year it had created a deficit of $l59,000. In the 1977-78 biennium, that deficit was a mere $203.
Economic Development was never neglected by Goodman all the time tourism was being promoted. One of the first firms to accept Nevada's invitation to locate in the State was Electronic Dispensers International. EDI fabricates and sells the ubiquitous beverage dispensers found in bars around the world.
A lasting legacy of Goodman's recruiting work are the J.C. Penney catalog distribution centers in Reno and Clark County. The Penney corporation was planning to construct the center in the Sacramento area. Goodman was able to parlay the firm's interest in working with Nevada to host the National Governor's Conference at South Lake Tahoe into a corporate decision to locate in Reno, rather than Sacramento.
Then in the final year of Goodman's administration, 1978, Penney's announced it would open a second Nevada operation in Southern Nevada. A change in economic conditions nationally caused them to delay, then cancel that project.
Other national corporations, hearing of the Penney decision to locate in Nevada, began contacting Goodman. One of the first to join Penney's was the Levi Strauss Company. In 1975 it chose to locate in the New Horizons Industrial park in Henderon. Buster Brown Textiles and McDonnell-Douglas aircraft followed Strauss to Nevada. The Admiral Corporation soon joined them.
A series of datafiles was developed for each Nevada community, allowing incoming industries ready access to information on any area it might want to consider. Concurrentiy, the U.S. Department of Commerce and the University of Nevada created a Nevada Export Directory designed to encourage trade with overseas firms. Another tool was a comprehensive directory of Nevada industries. Through these programs, F.W. Dodge Information Systems Company reported, thousands of new jobs were created in Nevada.
In 1975 Goodman was selectod as Advocate of the Year by the Small Business Administration's regional office. In the award nomination, it was noted that Goodman provided extensive referrals and requests for assistance to the SBA, and was instrumental in arranging for the chairman of the State Gaming Control board to testify before the SBA,leading to positive changes in the agency's regulations relative to assistance to businesses involved in gaming.
Goodman had become aware of a growing trend by major and minor motion picture and television producers to use actual locations in filming, instead of the Hollywood studios. He reasoned that Southern Nevada had a lot to offer to that industry: It was close to Hollywood, had few cloudy or rainy days, and offered a variety of background settings. An impressive list of resources for the motion picture and television industry was prepared, with the assistance of chambers of commerce throughout the State. A 12-page brochure,"We're Right Next Door," touted what Nevada offered to that industry. By the mid-1970s, Hollywood Producers of everything from commercials to hour-long specials, and full-length movies were coming into Nevada. These were not just in Las Vegas. In Northern Nevada, two feature-length motion Pictures-"Charley Varrick" and "The Shootist" -brought major star-and publicity-to the area. There were some 300 members of the National Screen Actors Guild in Nevada shortly after it was organized in 1976.
In 1979, the Legislature created the state Motion Picture Commission. The successful Program initiated by Goodman became a full division of the State's Economic Development Commission with creation of the Nevada Film Office in 1983. Film-making as a clean industry spending large sums of money in the area in which it films.
A major step in economic development for Nevada was taken in 1976, when Goodman led a successful effort to get Nevada into the Four Corners Regional Commission. A federal-state program undor a federal law which has since expired, the Commission dispensed federal grant money. Within days of joining, Nevada receivcd a $ll5,000 grant to initiate the West Las Vegas Community Comprehensive Economic Development plan.
Concurrently, 22 square miles of Las Vegas, North Las Vegas and unincorporated Clark County, was designded as a Special Impact Area by the Economic Development Administration, and an Urban Revitalization Area by the SBA. During the life of the Four Corners Regional Commission, Nevada would receive tens of millions of dollars in economic development grants.
Through a few of these, Carson Valley Conservation District was able to map the Carson River System. Pioche and Alamo received grants for water system engineering work. Another Project led to establishing the Foreign Trade Zone in Las Vegas.
When Bob List was elected governor, he naturally wanted to place his own people in the various State agencies. Bob Goodman was offered the position of Economic Development Director for the State of Wyoming where he remained for two years. His legacy lives on in Nevada through the work done by grants from the Four Corners Regional Commission, through the continuing tourism "Countries" Program, through the Nevada Film Office, and through the numerous corporations that chose to locate in Nevada during the 1970s as a result of Robert (Bob) Goodman.